Elder statesman Craig Anderson made historical past towards a former staff on Friday.
It could also be exhausting for some to imagine that Buffalo Sabres goalie Craig Anderson continues to be enjoying within the NHL this season. His (way back) former staff definitely took word of his presence on Friday night time, although. Anderson, 41, grew to become the oldest goalie in NHL historical past to generate 50 saves in a recreation, serving to the Sabres squeeze out a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers.
On the again of an unexpectedly robust goalie efficiency, the Sabres finish Friday in an equally stunning place: the East’s second wild card.
Craig Anderson makes previous goalie historical past vs. former staff
Anderson — set to show 42 on May 21 — made a powerful 53 saves, solely permitting a single purpose by Carter Verhaeghe.
The Sabres shared a extra particular stat of curiosity: Anderson can also be the primary goalie of age 41 or older to file a number of video games the place they made not less than 40 saves whereas permitting one purpose or much less.
On Dec. 13, Anderson pitched a 40-save shutout towards the Los Angeles Kings.
As a lot as a staff would favor to shelter a goalie of Anderson’s age (or any goalie, actually), he’s been in a position to hold Buffalo in lots of back-and-forth contests. Friday’s 53-save clinic pushed Anderson to a save proportion that sparkles for netminders of any age: .920. Interestingly, Anderson’s file (8-7-2) isn’t as spectacular as that of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (14-8-2), though the youthful goalie sports activities a shaky .894 save proportion.
Either means, it continues a sample of Anderson doing a few of his greatest work when individuals depend him out.
Back in 2020-21, he was restricted to 4 video games performed, and Anderson struggled in his ultimate three seasons with the Senators, posting a save proportion at .903 or decrease from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
Last season, his first with Buffalo, solely solidified the thought that he could be on his means out of the NHL. Instead, each Anderson and the Sabres have stunned the league.
Sabres very a lot in playoff image; one other painful setback for Florida
While he started his profession with the Chicago Blackhawks (and was really drafted twice), Anderson discovered his footing with the Panthers as a sneaky-strong backup. In 53 video games from 2006-07 to 2008-09, Anderson generated a powerful .928 save proportion. It should have been surreal for Anderson to carry out at such a degree towards his former staff in a spot the place he nonetheless owns a house.
With every stunning efficiency, a playoff look appears extra possible for Anderson and the Sabres.
Both the Sabres and Red Wings at the moment have 64 factors in 57 video games performed, however Buffalo holds tiebreaker benefits, so that they sit because the second East wild card. The Panthers additionally boast 64 factors, however in 61 video games performed, hammering house how painful this loss is. Top East wild card staff, the Islanders, misplaced in regulation on Friday (67 factors in 62 GP) whereas each the Penguins (63 factors in 57 GP) and Capitals (62 factors in 60 GP) are mired in slumps.
The Sabres aren’t all the best way there to a Cinderella run but, however nights like these make you marvel if Anderson, alongside together with his younger Sabres teammates, has some magic left.